Why is United seeing 10 times the incident rate carrying animals than the rest of the industry?
Injuries, deaths, and losses are tracked by the DOT for animals that were provided as checked baggage. This chart looks at who accepts the most animals, and the rate at which there are incidents regarding those animals.
United stands out. At three times the industry average rate, and 10 times the rest of the industry, something is happening to animals that fly United that isn’t happening on other airlines.
There could be any number of benign reasons for this: The methods of reporting could be different, some carriers could be refusing certain types of animals that would have a higher chance of injury or death, or United could be taking these animals on significantly longer stage-lengths. According to the DOT, many of the deaths and injuries on United were from “natural causes”.
The question is, how are the other carriers able to avoid injuries and deaths from natural causes that United is not? I’m not suggesting United hates animals (or guitars), but they stand out as a clear outlier in the data.
*Allegiant, Southwest, Jetblue, Frontier, Spirit, and Virgin American were all listed as carriers that did not transport animals.